December 11th, 2013
10:06 AM ET

U.S. Man in Jail in Dubai Over Parody Video

A young American living in the United Arab Emirates,Shezanne "Shez" Cassim, has been imprisoned since April, his family says, for posting what was intended to be a funny video on the Internet. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.

It was meant to be a piece of comedy, a 19-minute video that pokes fun at a clique of Dubai teens who are influenced by hip-hop culture. In the 1990s, the label "Satwa G" was coined for a group of suburban teens who were known to talk tougher than they really were.

But the situation isn't funny any more.

No matter how hard CNN has tried, UAE officials will not make a single comment about this case to journalists and the government doesn't have to because the laws there do not require it.

Though Sidner was able to secure an exclusive interview with a man familiar with the case.

This person said he knows something because he spent time in prison with the amateur filmmakers.

He says the guys told him they were charged under the newly revised cyber crime law, the same reason he was sent to jail.

"I was using social media, especially Twitter, to express my opinions and defend human rights and cases of people detained by national security and I was calling for political reform."

The man says he was sentenced to time in cell block 7 - where he says he met the American and his friends.

In reference to the group in the cell he said:   "..in terms of their health they seemed thin, they seemed down because they didn't expect to face charges over a humorous video that they only intended to be funny."

Cassim's next hearing is six days away on December 16.

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Filed under: News • Videos • World News
soundoff (One Response)
  1. twistedtory

    Since when does heresay from a source who claims to know qualify as verifiable news? Shoddy standards, CNN, I expect more from you.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:28 am | Reply

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